I've been putting the Richard Kell No3 honing guide through its paces this week and here are some initial thoughts.
For starters, first impressions. Though I bought this item from ebay, it was not used and was in the origianl packaging...a brown unmarked cardboard box. Included was the guide itself, an extra set of tires, and a one page instruction sheet. The instructions are a photocopy of a hand written sheet, but never fear! This Richard Kell fellow clearly has some drafting experience under his belt, because the lettering and diagrams are all clear and easy to read. He takes a little time to list the tolerances that he machines within when he makes each guide by hand. This is a nice touch and the care that he puts into each shows. The finished product very clearly looks hand made...but not in a bad way. What I mean is that no company would mass product anything of this caliber, with the attention to detail that is paid. This honing guide has a feeling of quality that I haven't felt from any other "new" tool that I have handled. Granted, I don't have access to the fancy boutique tools of Bridge City Tool Works or have the budget for Veritas & Lie Neilson, who may have similar attention to detail. The bottom line is this: I am confident that this is the last honing guide that I will ever buy.
The instruction sheet calls for shop-made wedges to hold whatever you are sharpening in place. I have made two wedges so far, one for chisels and a wider, thicker one for my planes. There are two steel reference pins on the left side of the guide that the chisel or blade is against. This keeps the material square to the guide. I also built a couple of different jigs for placing my chisels and blades in at specific angles. So far I have a jig for 30, 25, and 23 degrees. The process thus far has been highly repeatable. I have taken chisels in and out and have been able to maintain the same angle with no deviation. Even very narrow chisels are held firmly with no problems.
I have 8 chisels (4 brand new, two old, and two really
old) being sharpened right now. I am through half of the chisels up to 800 grit. I'll report back when I have them all the way sharpened and in service.
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